Public Relations made easy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Perceptive pondering of a PR pro

  TAMARA BODI, McKim Cringan George
Tamara Bodi is the Director of Public Relations and Social Media at McKim Cringan George (MCG), a full-service ad agency. Her background is in journalism. She graduated with honours from the Creative Communicationsprogram with a major in journalism. Her career eventually took a different path: public relations. Have a look at her Linkedin profile for more details, or better yet, give her a call, she’s always glad to talk to PR students. 

I met Tamara in September at a networking event hosted by the Canadian Public Relations Society (Manitoba chapter). Tamara is the Program Director, a volunteer position on the board. We sat down to chat in her 6th floor office at the Crocus building with a lovely view overlooking Main Street.

Typical week

Ask Tamara what a typical week is like as Director of Public Relations and Social Media at MCG and you’ll get a rueful laugh.

"It’s different all the time. Some weeks you can be working on one main project and other weeks on a bunch of little projects. Suddenly, you get a surprise and have to drop what you’re currently working on. It usually comes in phases. You'll get three of those in a week and then nothing for a while", explains Tamara.

She goes on to explain that her work straddles both PR and social media, so it’s her job to find a way to blend them together. writing all that important?

"Writing is obviously very important but editing is equally important. They are a two-part deal of the same package", says Tamara. 

She also stresses that you need to know how to write on all kinds of different levels, whether it's a biography, a proposal or strategic writing, like social media.

To that end, she keeps current by consuming a lot of news and media. She regularly listens to the radio, surfs online and is active on social media like Twitter. That’s not to say she doesn’t use more traditional means as well; she reads the newspaper every day and watches the 10 o’clock news every night.

Tamara is also a strong believer in joining professional networks, like becoming a member of  the Canadian Public Relations Society. If you’re the communications person for your company, you're quite often in a silo situation. It's hard when you're the only person responsible for the PR decisions. It helps to have a network of people you can turn to for advice.

Wish I had known...

When asked what she wishes she had known, Tamara is quick to answer: it’s pretty stressful. It’s something she doesn’t try to sugar-coat whenever speaking to students and interns: “It’s an enjoyable job but it’s also difficult and unpredictable. It’s not an accident that it was voted as one of the top 10 most stressful professions.”

Don't get me wrong...

According to Tamara, it’s also pretty fun.

A few years ago, while working for Public Affairs at the University of Manitoba, Tamara had the chance to work on a project that earned her an award for news release writing.

With her help, a business professor by the name of Dr. Hari Bapuji was able to share his findings with the world by getting international coverage for it. They received calls from the BBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post. It was a very topical subject and they were able to get maximum coverage out of it. For more details about the project, click here.

Tamara remembers telling Dr. Bapuji, "Hari, you gave me my most fun day ever.” She adds, “To this day, it still remains one of my best days in public relations.”

Agency vs corporate?

Tamara explains that purely PR agencies are a rarity in Winnipeg, Dooley Communications being one of the very few. She explains that if you work at an agency in Winnipeg, you have to learn quickly to be versatile. With corporate, you usually have your niche. 

Lastly, tips for the newbies?

Tip 1: 
"Develop or join a network. Some days, you need help. You have no idea if what you’re doing is right or good. You need to bounce ideas off someone." 

Tip 2:
"The PR field is dynamic. Public relations is maybe not the right name for what we’re doing now. Social media had changed the landscape. To reach your public, what better way to get your message across and, in turn, listen to their messages?"

Tip 3:
"Pay it forward. Treat reporters with respect. If you loved one of their stories, let them know. Keep your connections open and your interactions genuine."

Writer's note:

I had a great talk with Tamara. It's quite obvious she loves her job and I couldn't help but be swept up by her enthusiasm. She even offered to give me advice if I was ever in need of it. It's people like Tamara that make me realize how much I love my job.

No comments:

Post a Comment